Writing a blog is an entirely new experience for me, and twitter is an even newer experience. I tell myself that I’m young, I should be savvy with these social media forms. However, twitter is something that I just can’t get used to. Once something starts trending, it quickly becomes the only topic on everybody’s mind. And when a patient comes in to the clinic/office to discuss a twitter subject, it can be hard to keep my composure.
A recent journal article published in ‘Scientific American’ titled, LSD Helps to Treat Alcoholism, has been trending in every subject related to alcoholism. It has come to the point that I feel it necessary to add my two cents to this ridiculous subject of LSD as a means to cure alcoholism.
I created this animation to add my two cents
While the journal article is new, published on March 9th 2012, the data is from the 1960’s. The article uses this data in a retrospective meta-analysis to determine if there are any new conclusions that can be drawn when the data is looked at differently. Usually a researcher will have a new hypothesis to test and he/she will use the old data to answer the question. This is a common research procedure and it’s absolutely legitimate.
In this particular article, the authors combined multiple studies that were done in the 1960’s to increase the total number of people in their new study. The purpose of having more people is so that there will be a greater likelihood that the conclusions/results will be similar to the general population. This essentially increases the statistical power and strength of their new study.
The new study determined that people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse. As per the article, “59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse, compared to 38% of people who received a placebo.” When taken at face value, it appears that this is a clear indication that LSD decreases peoples use of alcohol.
What people on twitter don’t consider or realize are the confounding variables. Maybe the subjects reported lower levels of alcohol misuse because they were so wasted from the LSD that they couldn’t even find the liquor store. Or maybe they were so busy trying to obtain more LSD because it was so addictive that they forgot about their alcohol craving for the time being. These are oversimplified alternatives, but such factors must be considered before people come to the conclusion that LSD should be used to treat alcoholism.
The best thing about this blog is that everybody that I have met here has a much more profound understanding of addiction. You know that there is no such thing as a silver bullet to rid the craving. The only way to overcome it is through strength from within. The means that you find that strength is unique to each of you. And that is why I truly enjoy every person here.
Note: Mrs Demeanor did a good job of bringing my attention to a mistake in this post. I make the association of LSD being addictive, when in fact the research shows that LSD is not addictive.